"With a family to consider, the courageous Zorro must now weigh the consequences of his secretive, crime-fighting, swashbuckling life: he has become estranged from both his wife, Elena, and child, Joaquin. His son, only knowing that 'papa is away on business' has a difficult time dealing with his father's absence."
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THE LEGEND OF ZORRO

movie trailer (apple.com)

NOTE: This Spoiler was sent in by Robin.

The movie opens as Californians are voting whether or not to become a state.  It is about 10 years after the first movie.  We see village scenes of the mission near Zorro's house.  A young boy is ringing the mission bell 5 times "to call Zorro in case there's trouble."  The same monk from the first movie tells him that Zorro is probably already there.  They walk back into the courtyard where it is clear that most people are in favor of statehood.  The monk asks the boy why he isn't in school and the boy runs into the crowd.

A very bad guy shows up with a wagon and more bad guys.  The very bad guy has a cross burned onto his face, probably from a branding iron.  He wears a cross and talks about doing the Lord's work. His horse also wears a cross.   He makes some racist comments (he is anglo) about the Tower of Babel falling because it let in "the mongrel races."  (Many of the people in the courtyard are latino peasants.)  He steals the box of votes.

Zorro appears and there is a long and exciting action sequence as they fight for the box.  Whips, knives, swords, guns.  The wagon loses a wheel and Zorro gets the box.  The very bad guy chases him up onto a railroad bridge where they fight some more.  The very bad guy falls off the railroad bridge headfirst into some cactus, and loses all his teeth.  Zorro loses his mask.  He rips a piece of cloth from his shirt and makes a new one, but not before he is seen by two anglo men in suits who are watching from below.  Zorro doesn't know they have seen him.

He calls for Tornado, his horse, and there are a few jokes about how the horse only knows Spanish, not English.  They ride back to the Governor’s house, deliver the box of votes, and then home.

Zorro is met by his wife, the beautiful Elena.  She is very happy that he is OK, and even more happy that now he can retire, like he promised.  He tells her that he can't retire just yet, because California still has to wait 90 days to join the United States, and "the people will need Zorro."  She gets very angry, and tells him, "YOU need Zorro."  They argue some more, and she tells him that his son doesn't even know him (because he is away so much being Zorro).  She reminds him that when their son was born, he told her that "My family is my life."  But nothing is settled.

They go upstairs, he goes in to say good night to his son, and we see that he is the same boy who cut class to go to the election and who was ringing the bell for Zorro. 

I think the next scene is in the school.  The teacher asks the class what statehood will mean for California.  The boy makes a big speech about throwing off "the red hot poker of oppression," which doesn't make a lot of sense but is clear! ly sincere.  Someone, I think the teacher,  asks him what the poker has to do with it, and the boy says the poker will go "In your butt."  The teacher tries to punish the boy and he runs around the classroom.  The other boys are laughing as the teacher and the boy end up having a Zorro-like fight with two sticks, I think a cane the teacher wanted to punish him with and perhaps a broom.  Anyway, the boy jumps out the window.

Menawhile...the two mysterious guys in suits who saw Zorro's face revealed come to see Elena.  We don’t know exactly what goes on, but they ask her if she is an independent woman or not.  There is some comment about his activities as Zorro putting his family in danger.

Then we find out that Elena wants a divorce from Zorro.  They get divorced.  He ends up living in a hotel, drinking a lot.  He is furious because Elena doesn't understand how much Zorro is needed.  But he is mostly drinking.  He has at least one conversation with his friend the monk (who knows he is Zorro from the first movie).

The monk decides Zorro needs a change.  There is going to be a big party at a new vineyard owned by a Frenchman who has only been in California a few months.  The party is to celebrate the opening of the vineyard.  Since Zorro is a Don, they should go.  (For the rest of the spoiler I will use Don Alejandro if he is in regular clothes, and Zorro if he is in his Zorro outfit.)

They go to the party, Don Alejandro makes some jokes about sissy Frenchmen only to find out the Frenchman himself was standing right behind him.  The Frenchman then goes up to the front of his house and makes a nice speech about California, and introduces his date for the evening--the beautiful Elena.  It turns out they knew each other when she was grow! ing up in Spain with her stepfather (the villain from the first movie).  They are romantic together.  Don Alejandro gets furious, and there are various small scenes between him and Elena, him and the Frenchman, and him and the monk, but nothing too serious.  There is some more dancing and drinking, Don Alejandro embarrasses everyone, and the party ends.

Now a lot of things happen and I can't remember the exact order, but essentially we find out that Elena is a spy for the Pinkertons.  The two men who came to her before were Pinkerton agents.  She is trying to get information on the Frenchman.  And he turns out to be part of a super secret society that wants to rule the world and is afraid that the US is becoming too strong.  This secret society wants to help the Southern states so that there will be a civil war and the power of the united States will be broken down.  It turns out the Frenchman has been developing nitroglycerin, which he is putting in bottles from his new vineyard and is going to deliver by train to a Southern army officer.

While all this is going on, there is a side plot with a young peasant couple with a new baby.  They are friends of Don Alejandro's.  There is a scene in the marketplace where the very bad guy tries to get the husband to sell him their land (which it will turn out the villain needs to complete the railroad from the vineyard).  Don Alejandro is there with his son.  ! The son sees Don Alejandro being chicken and not protecting his friend.  The very bad guy buys wooden teeth for himself.  There is also a side scene where, in order to get rid of the Frenchman so she can talk to Don Alejandro, Elena tells the Frenchman that she smokes and she needs him to buy her a pipe so he will go to the other side of the market.  She and Don Alejandro have another argument and she tells him to leave her alone.

Later there will be a fight at the young couple’s small farmhouse.  The very bad guy will show up, and try to force the husband to give him the deed.  The husband helps his wife and their baby escape through a trap door.  Instead of leaving, she goes into the barn.  She gets trapped there, and Zorro saves her from two bad guys. (One of whom does indeed get a red hot poker in his butt.)  The barn gets set on fire, though.

The husband gets in gun battle with the very bad guy and his helpers, and the husband is killed.

I can't remember exactly how it all fits together, but Zorro's son sees a delivery of bars of soap with the secret society's label on it to the very bad guy at the railroad construction site.  He is rescued by Zorro.  Later we will find out that the glycerin soap will be used to make the nitroglycerine.

 Now there's another set of things that happen where I don't remember the exact order.  The Frenchman proposes to Elena and gives her some pearls.  He also gives her the pipe he bought for her at the market.  Elena says that she will marry him.  There are a few jokes about her smoking the pipe.  Zorro comes to the mansion in the vineyard  to see what Elena is up to, and they have an argument, but she helps keep him from being seen.

Don Alejandro gets arrested by the Pinkerton agents so he won't cause any trouble.  Elena is very close to finding out all the details of the secret society's plot, and they don't want Zorro (remember, they know he is Zorro) to mess it up.  So they have him thrown in jail as Don Alejandro.

His son comes and rescues him.  There is a cute scene where the son sees his father fighting as Don Alejandro for the first time, and asks him "Where did you learn to fight like that, Papi?"  Don Alejandro answers, "Prison changes a man, son." 

The very bad guy comes to the church looking for Zorro, and the monk gets shot.  The boy witnesses this, so the bad guys grab him to take him back to the vineyard.  They don’t know he’s Zorro’s son, though, they just know he was a witness.

Elena has made arrangements to have dinner at the mansion in the vineyard to celebrate their getting engaged.  (She doesn't know anything about what happened at the church.)   She is left alone by the housekeeper because the Frenchman has gone to a "business meeting."  Elena goes to spy on the meeting, which turns out to be a meeting of the secret society where the Frenchman will explain the nitroglycerin plot.

We find out that the Pinkertons have decided that if Elena gets discovered, they will NOT try to rescue her, because if her cover is blown, she's no longer useful to them.

Zorro goes to the vineyard  to rescue Elena.  He doesn’t know his son has been taken, either.

After various accidental meetings, kisses, sneaking around, Elena and Zorro are together spying on the secret meeting.  One of the secret society members says he's going to leave, and the Frenchman blows him up with a bottle of the nitroglycerin.  There are some more big fights  Zorro steals a bottle of the nitroglycerin and sets it as a trap under the train to blow the train up.

I don’t remember all of the next part, but I think the very bad guy shows up with their son, Elena is captured, and the Frenchman starts to leave taking Elena and the boy with him.  Zorro realizes his family will be blown up,  too.  So he has to come out of hiding.  He manages to get rid of the bottle before anyone is hurt, but he himself gets captured.  So now the Frenchman and his gang are standing next to the train and Zorro and Elena and their son are all captured.  The Frenchman takes off Zorro's mask and sees that it is Don Alejandro.  Don Alejandro tells Elena again, “My family is my life.”

Elena begs the Frenchman not to kill Alejandro in front of their son.  The Frenchman agrees (it seems he still wants to marry Elena), so he tells the very bad guy to do it after they leave.  The Frenchman takes Elena and the boy on the train.  They have some more conversation about how much the boy will enjoy being an aristocrat, so it’s clear the Frenchman still wants to marry Elena.

The train leaves.  More fights, and the monk shows up to help rescue Zorro. 

So now the monk and Zorro are free, but the Frenchman has Elena and the boy on a train with a carload full of nitroglycerin, heading for the rendezvous with the Southern army officer.

Zorro gets his horse and catches up with the train.  The Frenchman and Zorro's family all see him through the window.    I'm not quite sure of the timing here, because when they were about to kill Zorro it was night, but when he catches up with them, it's clearly daytime.  So I guess it's the next day.

Zorro and his horse get on a hill up above the train, and jump down onto the train.  They go through the roof of an empty boxcar.  Now Zorro sneaks through the train and the horse is in the boxcar.

Meanwhile, Elena has been fighting with the Frenchman.  She and her son run through the train.  They get to the boxcar.  She tells the boy to cross over.  Then she uncouples the boxcar from the train.  As it slowly rolls to a halt, the boy is amazed to find Zorro's horse saddled up in the boxcar.  "How did you get in here?"  He asks.  He opens the side door, jumps on the horse, and they jump out of the boxcar.  Now instead of going back to the hacienda, he chases the train.

Zorro has been fighting with various bad guys on the train.  The two engineers either get killed or thrown off the train, and the train is out of control.  The wine bottles full of nitroglycerin are swinging from their holders in one car of the train.  Elena is fighting with bad guys.  Somehow in all of this the train gets switched from one track to another, so it is taking a different route than it is supposed to.  The boy gets to a point of view where he can ! see that the train is now going to slam into a train that is parked for a big signing ceremony as California becomes a state.  We can see the governor and his wife and other important people are all on the parked train.

The boy manages to get down to the parked train ahead of the out of control train.  There is a lever that will switch the train to a different siding so it won't hit the parked train.  He is trying to move it, but it is too difficult.  People are screaming, running around, and jumping off the ceremonial platform.  Tornado, Zorro's horse, rears up and brings his feet down the lever, and that switches the train.  Then we see that President Lincoln was also on the ceremonial train for the signing.

The out of control train is still going, and Zorro, Elena, and the Frenchman are still fighting.  Somehow the Frenchman gets stuck on the front of the train.  Zorro and Elena jump off.  The train hits some construction at the end of the siding, and explodes.

Next scene, we see the son all dressed up with the monk.  Then we see it is a wedding, and Don Alejandro and Elena are getting married again.  The mission bell interrupts the service.  They try to go on with the service, but as the bells continue and everyone is counting to see if it will get to 5, the monk is going faster with the service.  They are married, and Elena tells Alejandro to go, that Zorro is needed.

He changes, gets Tornado, rides off, and stops on a rise where he can see the hacienda.  The horse rears up and Zorro salutes the house.  Elena and her son both wave.  Zorro rides off to answer the call.

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